Tips for sending your kid off to college — happy!

For the last 25 years, Emory Psychology professor Marshall Duke helped ease the separation process for parents with his orientation seminar “Parenting a College Student: What To Expect.”

(What are must-haves for college students in 2011?)

Here’s some of what he tells the parents in his session:

•  Think about your parting words.

‘The closing words between parents and children are crucial. Whatever wisdom you have to offer, whether it is ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m behind you,’ ‘I’m proud of you,’ say it. If you can’t express yourself verbally, write your thoughts down and mail the letter to your child immediately after you arrive home. Your children will remember your messages and hold on to them.’

• Your lives will change.

‘Younger siblings may be quite happy to see the older child leave home. I’ve heard stories of younger children who usually have stayed in their rooms suddenly appearing at the dinner table. If the college-bound student is your youngest, you’ll begin to reestablish a one-on-one relationship with your spouse after years of parenting.’

• You won’t be able to wait for them to come home — or leave.

‘Your child will arrive home with a whole new set of habits, particularly when it comes to food and sleep. When my daughter came home from college for the first time she decided to call her friend at 10:30 p.m. one evening. When I expressed surprise, she said, ‘Oh, I know it’s early, but I want to catch her before she makes plans with someone else.’ ”

• Don’t change your child’s room.

“The student’s room is ‘home base’ – try not to change it very much during his or her first semester away. Freshmen in particular can go through some very difficult times, passing exams, establishing new friendships, surviving in a setting where they are not ‘top dog,’ and often fearing that admissions has made a mistake — that they do not really belong at college. Give them a ’safe haven.’ ”

• When a problem arises, “move like your feet are stuck in molasses.”

“The temptation is to intervene when a child calls home with a problem. Remember that many resources exist at college to help students cope with various situations. Express support, but give your children time to solve their own problems—it will ultimately benefit them. Colleges have many safety nets, including resident advisers who are trained to identify and handle just about any problem you can imagine.”

• Don’t expect the same grades in college that the students got in high school.

“Perfect 4.0’s (or higher, with AP grades) are commonplace in high school. Very few students make it through a challenging and varied college curriculum with a perfect 4.0. At Emory, for example, there might be only one or two out of a graduating class of 1100+. Expect early GPA’s to be low and later ones to be better. Brand new college freshmen are actually ’successful high school students who are at college.’ They need time and experience to learn how to be ‘college students at college.’ This takes at least one semester. Be patient and understanding.”

• Hold out for junior year.

“As freshmen, students tend to highlight everything in their textbooks because everything seems important. Sophomores highlight several lines on a page as they begin to zero in on the heart of the matter. Juniors just highlight a line here or there. Seniors sometimes highlight nothing — they just write critical comments in the margin and cite other sources of reference. By the child’s junior year you will realize you’re dealing with an expanded and exciting mind. Be patient in waiting to see the effects of the college experience.”

My parents left our rooms the same for a very long time. Mine pretty much still looks the same but is the guest bedroom. My brother’s room was turned into a nursery when the grandkids came. Poor brother!

The only time I ever remember my parents rushing over to the university was when I ripped my contact lens the very first night I was there and needed another contact to start class. I had my older cousin as college with me so I think that made everyone feel safer. He was there to look out for me.

I had good grades from the beginning, but I had a hard time with roommates my freshmen year and was a little sad. Everything improved my sophomore year when I started working at the college newspaper The Red and Black and found my people. I think it’s important to tell freshmen to follow their hearts to activities they enjoy. They will find like-minded people and will start to build their own community.

So what do you think of Duke’s advice? Did you instinctively do any this with your college kids? Would you offer contrary advice or other advice to parents about to part with their college students?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, Momania on ajc.com. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

47 comments Add your comment

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
1:56 pm

My God…where to even start.

Parting words….I’m going to tell him the same thing then as I do now when I drop him off for 2nd grade…”have you got your condoms?” JOKING…what I say is “hey, be good and do good”. Covers all the bases, I think.

Don’t change your child’s room/ TWG’s room still is pretty much the same? Are you effing kidding me? First and foremost, it’s the beginning of the rest of his life…where the real adventure begins. Hopefully, he’s far enough away that he’s going to have to learn some life lessons so that he doesn’t call crying to me that his contact rips and he can figure something as simple as that out on his own. I remember my first semester in college…2000 miles from home and I got food poisoning and was really sick. Called my mom and looked for the pity party “what do I do? don’t you feel bad for me”…until my dad got on the phone and said, “go to the school hospital…that’s what adults do when they get sick”. A day later and mulitple IV bags later, i was fine and learned the lesson that most problems I’m going to face are up to me to figure out…and simple enough for me to figure out. Felt kind of silly afterwards when I had that “why didn’t I think of that” moment…I’m sick..go to see a dr……duh.

My advice…change his room entirely. My wife and I plan to sell our house and start our own adventures. We are NOT going to provide an environment that memorializes what once was for him. He can catch up with us in some other state (hopefully country) for holidays and summer breaks and we can show him how much there is to look forward to in the future. But if he’s looking back at how comfy his room used to be (which let’s face it, his room is just a metaphor for his life), he got a raw deal for parents.

“The only time I ever remember my parents rushing over to the university was when I ripped my contact lens”…THAT was the biggest deal you had to involve your parents in your college life? Sounds like you had a pretty cushy college experience. Good thing you didn’t have my dad…he would have said “wear your glasses…..duh.”

catlady

August 18th, 2011
2:14 pm

My parents never rushed to my aid, either. I had an allergic reaction to a sting–up to me to take care of it. Got mono–same. Got food poisoning–same. Pull up your big girl panties.

They did leave my room alone, but they had 2 other spare bedrooms so it wasn’t needed.

I don’t know how much they bit their tongues, but they did the right thing. I’d like to think they were as homesick for me as I was for them, but they got by.

When my kids went off it was hard on me, but they pulled through just fine. I think the best advice I gave them was, “See the __________. That is what they are there for. Let them earn their money.”

One thing I learned: When my oldest left, her little sister and I were killed. We really missed her. We would sit around and play board games to pass the time. The first night she was gone, little sister asked me to sleep in her room which she had shared with big sis. I agreed to stay in there for a while. After we had been laying there (twin beds but pretty close together) she asked me to hold her hand. I tried to brush her off, but she revealed to me, “When I would get scared, “sis” would hold my hand till I fell asleep.” I NEVER knew that, and I was so grateful that she had a sister like that.

When little sis went off to college, and I was all alone, I started talking to the cats. They are really intelligent animals,you know?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 18th, 2011
2:25 pm

catlady that is so touching.

GaBlue

August 18th, 2011
3:20 pm

My lower lip is hanging down in a tremble too. Just moved baby out for the second year. Made a point BOTH years: NO CRYING on move-in day! No tears for the good-bye! No need to dampen baby’s excitement with my silly old feelings. Now the dog… yeah. The dog gets the tears, as we shuffle from room to room, staring at each other saying, “What now?”

atlanta mom

August 18th, 2011
3:24 pm

Don’t call them. Let them call you. Yes, it’s hard. But they will appreciate you for it.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
3:27 pm

@GABlue..What now…close that chapter of your life, you did a great job and it has a happy ending….and start a new chapter.

Parenting has been a great experience for me in the last 7 year (7 1/2 if you ask my son), but I don’t buy into this concept that I’m JUST a parent and am beholden to doting and providing for him after I’ve given him the tools to go out and face the world on his own. Nothing will ever change how much I love him and support him in his life, but I feel like the mark of the good parent is to be able to say to your child “it’s time to go do your thing without us to see what you can do” and for him/her to respond..”I’m ready to do this”.

When a problem arises, “move like your feet are stuck in molasses.”

August 18th, 2011
3:27 pm

When both sons went off to college I told them I would be there for regular problems, but if they got arrested then “don’t bother to call me; you are old enough to get into legal trouble, you are old enough to handle it”.. both got into trouble with under age drinking (surprise, surpise) and neither one called mom or dad…

Mattie

August 18th, 2011
3:34 pm

“Good bye, have a good year”. That’s it. We have a college junior and a sophomore this year. They moved themselves into off campus housing, went grocery shopping, bought books, all on their own. They know we expect grades to take priority over socializing. So far, they haven’t disappointed us.

I won’t change their rooms, but I will give them the deep cleaning they so badly need after having them home all summer.

Techmom

August 18th, 2011
3:39 pm

@Tiger – I’m with you on the selling the house. As soon as the boy graduates there will be a For Sale sign in the yard (maybe even by spring break quite frankly).

My parents came to my college one time, graduation.

I’m sure I’ll be a little sad when the boy goes off to college but I have a laundry list of hobbies and things I’d like to do when I’m not tied to schedule so I’m sure I’ll survive! For now, I’ll enjoy the last two years of HS.

Scooby

August 18th, 2011
3:41 pm

Well said Tiger! When our two left, it was basically, stay out of trouble and have a good year. Now that they’ve finished and are truly on their own it’s more like, your problems are not our problems. Deal with them, just like we had to.

JJ

August 18th, 2011
3:44 pm

WOW. I won’t sell my house until my daughter is totally on her own, independant. I feel she still needs a ‘home base” and she is still living with me. She’s taking a semester off before the dreaded law program kicks in. But she won’t start that until she has a job and can pay her way through school. I paid for the first two years, and now it’s up to her to continue her education.

Then I’m of to St. Simons Island to coast into retirement……

jarvis

August 18th, 2011
3:54 pm

I had two quite different college experiences. I had moderately poor grades in high school paired with a very solid ACT score. I couldn’t get into my first choice of college so I went to Georgia Southern in Statesboro for a year. To this day, my year in Statesboro was the worst year of my life. I’ve had friends that loved it down there, but I just didn’t fit well.
Even with all of that, I never asked my parents to bail me out. Knowing my mom, if she’d had any idea how miserable I was, she’d have let me come home. But I knew I was the cause of having to be there, and I made the best of the situation at hand. I worked hard to coordinate a move to Athens and a transfer to UGA. When I got there the next year, I appreciated the change that much more.
When the time comes I’ll pass something tell my children something along the lines of, “Have fun, become your own person, and take care of yourself. Figure stuff out on your own, but I’m your dad, and I’ll always be here if you need me. “

I DON'T EVEN LIKE MILK

August 18th, 2011
4:13 pm

Don’t be fooled. For the most part,college is a scam. It is nothing more than a business. Don’t let your kids go off to college until they have real interests in about 3 (real) majors. Most change there major multiple times. If they aren’t sure let them take a year off to “grow up” and get some of the partying out of their system. After they start college, visit them!!! Talk to them about what they are learning. Give them real world advice. Most importantly, treat them like adults. That’s what they want, right?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 18th, 2011
4:25 pm

Gablue — you have me tearing up.

I have some new perspective on this blog now – I attended a training day yesterday the college and they have a staffer dedicated to helping the kids through the transition of being at school. They pointed out that she kept leaving the meetings because several students’ parents flew out and they were crying and she went out to comfort them.

I think college is giving a lot more care and support for these student that I suspect my rising 6th grader will have next year in middle school. they just throw them out there.

Also Michael was noting all the Welcome Week activities at UGA for freshmen. He’s like do you remember anything done for Freshmen?? I remember going for orientation and staying in a dorm for two days but once you got there in the fall you were on your own. There is video of all the activities they are doing online. We were watching a video of the freshmen in the stadium making a big G on the field. I don’t know if that will make you miss your parents less but it is fun.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
4:27 pm

@I DON’T EVEN…..I respectfully disagree with your statement “Don’t let your kids go off to college until they have real interests in about 3 (real) majors.” i get where you’re coming from, but as a guy who got a completely worthless undergrad degree, I still look back at the experience as worth the time and money (my money…parents never foot the bill for me). The value was that day in and day out, regardless of whether I was interested in pursuing the topic at hand as a career, my thoughts and ideas were challenged. What I learned more than anything was what my dad had been been implying to me for many years and that was i didn’t know near as much about the world as I thought I did. The real benefit was that I wasn’t hearing criticisms about me from someone I was obviously smarter than (my parents) but from my own peers. People my age from all walks of life who had a different perspective than me. And few of the lessons had anything to do with the class cirriculum. To me, that constant self evaluation and reconciling between who I claimed to be vs. what my actions indicated WAS the education. Now granted, there are many avenues one can follow to get that same experience, but college had the most hot girls who liked to drink and party, so I’m partial to that one.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
4:35 pm

@TWG…..I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about how your kids adapt to leaving for college. they seem like exceptionally bright kids with indelible spirits of adventure. That said, I don’t think they’re going to need the “how to transition to college” seminar. YOU are definitely going to need the “how to transition to your kids flying the coop to college” seminar. I suspect they are going to select schools that are about as far from your control as they possibly can if you don’t guilt them into staying closer to home. Seriously, I fear for you when the realization they don’t need you anymore hits….actually I think I fear for Michael more.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
4:46 pm

“they have a staffer dedicated to helping the kids through the transition of being at school….that….kept leaving the meetings because several students’ parents….were crying and she went out to comfort them”

sounds like those kids were really busted up over going to college. trust me, they were thinking about the first kegger, or all the “strange” they were going to score, or really embracing the opportunities they had ahead of them, or how they were going to keep up with the course load, or if they’d like their roommate, or how much cooler this is than that high school hell hole….in short..they were thinking about how exciting the future was.

Only the crying parents were thinking…”my god…what now?

@TWG…I suspect this is your crystal ball….

Jennifer

August 18th, 2011
5:01 pm

I just this moment dropped our youngest daughter off at college in NYC. The advice is good. I just punted on step two – could only give a tight hug or else I was going to cry my guts out

Jennifer

August 18th, 2011
5:03 pm

so I sent her a facebook message. Gotta love technology.

GaBlue

August 18th, 2011
5:15 pm

Enter your comments here

GaBlue

August 18th, 2011
5:27 pm

Oh yeah… it’s totally the parents crying. But seriously… NOW WHAT? I worked and sacrificed all these years to get the child to this point. Made it! Good school, good sense, bright future. Yayyyyy!

Ooops. Forgot something: a plan for mom. This economy does not leave a whole boatload of options. Exhausted, spent, and clueless.

Tia

August 18th, 2011
5:41 pm

I don’t have children in college yet but I don’t want my kids to leave home EVER! That is specifically why I have required their college choices to be far enough away from home that getting to them is a real inconvenience. They need the separation and they need to make adult decisions without my hovering and I don’t trust me.

atlmom

August 18th, 2011
5:46 pm

My parents came with me to drop me off for college, but after that I was kind of on my own. I don’t know why they both made the trip, honestly.
For my kids, my husband is already counting the days til he can put up the for sale sign on the house, when the youngest is off to college (if we can afford the house until then :). He wants to get a 1 BR apartment. I told him we need to have space for the kids to come visit (and live if they need to). He’s not sure yet, but we’ll see. We have more than a decade to go, so we have time…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 18th, 2011
6:35 pm

tiger why so mean?

BlondeHoney

August 18th, 2011
6:53 pm

Having seen two off to college I am firmly on Tiger’s side…so much so that I relocated from Fla to Ga for a better job and got a new house. Both boys tell me again & again that I did the right thing for them because they had to stand on their own two feet…having a single mom with bills to pay made them solve their own problems and they did. Now I admit i do have two extra bedrooms for them when they come “home” :)

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 18th, 2011
7:12 pm

@TWG….come on now….was it really mean, or direct? I never said you were a bad person, I never said your heart wasn’t in the right place, I never called you names. I merely tried to illustrate the the “problems” you percieve as belonging to your kids are really owned by you. Tell me I’m not on point here.

catlady

August 18th, 2011
7:28 pm

Two more pieces of advice: Save every receipt and advisement slip, plus the college handbook you entered under. This can prove if they make a mistake.

Be aware that deadlines in college ARE deadlines. You cannot weasle your way out of required time-sensitive important dates.

Longtime Educator

August 18th, 2011
7:56 pm

@ Catlady…Good advice about the college handbook at time of entry. Majors requirements get changed all the time and having the handbook (do they even still have paper copies?) from the semester you entered proves your course of study/graduation requirements.

motherjanegoose

August 18th, 2011
7:56 pm

Y’all are too funny! We have had one out to college for 6 years and one who is on her second year.
We are staying put until they both graduate. Then, we may be close to paying off the house and will certainly move into something smaller or maybe even have two places. Our son will most likely be in a Pharmacy in the metro area, at least that is what he has heard from corporate. Our daughter wants to move to Boston but she has never spent a winter in New England, so we shall see. I love mine dearly but do not meddle in their lives. We taught them what they needed to know and they will have to learn to exist with others, whether they like them or not. Mine both handled their college applications by themselves and continue to handle their college life alone too. I check in once in a while. More so with my daughter than my son. She calls me every few days or sends a text. I did not hear from my son for weeks and then, as a last resort, would call the pharmacy, ” Is ____ alive…this is Mother…oh good…tell him I said hi!” It was a joke for everyone. Now, DB can give me the scoop on him …hoorah!

@ GaBlue…I kept my own interests all along the way and while I miss mine when they are gone, I have my own life, my own business and my own friends. It’s just quieter around here.

JoDee

August 18th, 2011
8:14 pm

The whole point of becoming a parent is to launch them into adulthood. We just dropped ours off to his first apartment—2nd year at GA Tech.. So proud that all of the training and parenting for the past 18 years is translating into a young man with a strong work ethic, a heart for others, basic living skills ( like laundry, cooking, banking, etc.) and a problem-solver mindset. We moved to a new house at Christmas last year, and he complained a bit, but he lived with us all summer in our new home and his his own space, so I don’t think he missed the old place too much. Hubby and I are enjoying being a couple again! It’s all good. Last year at this time I submitted a topic to Theresa about how to handle kids going off to college……I will admit that I missed him desperately…..for about 2 weeks…..but then I found myself, and I am really happy with my “empty nest”. I’m feathering it for the next phase…hoping for grands someday……

JoDee

August 18th, 2011
8:16 pm

BTW— I worried about him all summer and waited up on the couch until he came home after evenings out, but I never worry a bit about him when he is at school.

mom2alex&max

August 18th, 2011
8:17 pm

I’m not dreading the empty nest AT ALL. I know I still have several years (a decade) before I have to deal with it, but nope, I am not dreading it.

Even though I only work part time and I do dedicate a chunk of my time to my children and their activities, I look forward to hanging out with friends, learning new things, and volunteering for things that interest ME (as opposed to the mandatory hours the PTA expects you to dedicate to the school).

JoDee

August 18th, 2011
8:20 pm

@tiger–just wait until you bond to this human for 18 years….not just 7. It leaves a hole. Yesterday I said to my hubby “I miss him”, and hubby, who is very reserved, said simply, ” I miss him more.” Just you wait. You haven’t been there yet, so don’t judge.

BlondeHoney

August 18th, 2011
8:37 pm

JoDee, Tiger never said he wouldn’t miss him and I miss my boys every day…but you rejoice and are happy in the fact that you accomplished what every parent sets out to do, launch a fairly well adjusted productive adult into society. I am sure you will do the same and be happy about it too!

motherjanegoose

August 18th, 2011
8:41 pm

@ JoDee…haha…my kids always tell me, ” why are you worrying where we are…you do not worry about us when we are at school!” My son was home for one month. He is 24. I told him,
“Please be home at midnight or otherwise stay with someone else!” He respected that rule but did not stay any longer than he needed to. I cannot stand waking up at 2:00 a.m. and wondering if they will or will not come home. If they want to be out all night…then be out all night and the next day too! My husband missed my son more than my daughter ( I think) but he was miffed at her this week as she called me and not him. She called him today and all is well. Yes, it does leave a big hole but I know they love what they are doing, so I am thrilled for them!

[...] Ideas for sending your kid off to college — pleased! Did you instinctively do any this with your higher education little ones? Would you offer opposite assistance or other suggestions to mother and father about to component with their higher education college students? – Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, Momania on ajc.com. You can comply with me on Twitter or Facebook. Examine much more on Atlanta Journal Structure (blog) [...]

catlady

August 18th, 2011
9:31 pm

One last tip: Get your child to program the number for campus security into their cell phone. Please God that they never need it. True story:

One afternoon her senior year I get a call from my younger daughter. She sounds bad. “Mom, I have fallen in the stairwell and have hurt my leg. I need help, but I don’t know the number for campus security. Will you call them?”

Ring, ring.”Campus security”

Me: Hello, my name is ____. My daughter, _______, has just fallen in _______Hall in the stairwell and hurt her leg. She needs help.

Security: Why didn’t she call us herself?

Me: I think she may be in shock. She cannot remember the number, but she had me programmed into her phone. Can you help her?

Security: What is her name?

Me: Her name is ________.

Security: Where is she?

Me: She is in the stairwell of __________ Hall. She needs help.

Security: And why are YOU calling us?

Me: To get you to help her.

Security: And where is she?

Me: Between the second and third floor of _______Hall.

Security: And what is her name?

Me: SHE IS THE ONLY GIRL LYING ON THE STAIRS BETWEEN SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS OF _____________HALL!!!!! When you go there, she will be the only one. You can’t miss her!

Security: Okay, we will check on it.

I wish I could say this is an exaggeration, but it is NOT,

djs_NC

August 18th, 2011
9:36 pm

wow..my 19 yo has recieved her college transfer and associates in science and is starting on her lab technology degree. its been strange. she doesnt live here but i see her a lot. since i am also finishing a couple of degrees we have actually had some classes together lol..that was weird! im so proud of her for doing so well in college and knowing she is on the road to being able to support herself in a career that she is loving. of course i miss her. she is my younges of 5 and i definately have that empty nest syndrome at times. but i have told her all of her life that this is what she needs to do-get a degree in something she likes so she can always take care of herself and not be miserable in a job if she doesnt have to be. she is a science whiz (doesnt get it from me for sure!) but she is loving her lab tech program. my advice to her is and always has been-choose something you like and go as far as you can with it. thats what she is doing. this is the first semester we dont have any classes together-not even online…im in a psychology program and shes in the lab thing-i think i will miss her in my classes lol

Susie Watts

August 19th, 2011
2:06 am

As a private college counselor and parent of five college graduates, I think you have offered some very valuable suggestions. I believe the greatest lesson parents can teach their children is resiliency. It won’t all be smooth sailing and you will probably hear from your kids when things are not going great. Parents need to listen and be supportive, but college students need to learn how to handle problems themselves without parents always coming to the rescue.

College Direction
http://www.collegedirection.org

shaggy

August 19th, 2011
7:39 am

Tiger,

Well said, except I ain’t waiting for him to go to college before, I see the world. I see it with him, his mother, or without them both. They both know this to be true, and love me for it, because their invitation to join the adventure is ALWAYS open. They often accept and hang on for the ride. However, if the boat, plane, car, train, etc… is scheduled to leave, I intend to be on it.
I missed a great climbing trip this year because of me, not them. Either my family is well taken care of, or I don’t plan anything in advance. It is that simple and won’t change because he is in college or trekking in the himalayas, which he really wants to do…alone, without me or his mother.

Rodney

August 19th, 2011
9:24 am

I don’t have children but I have been through the experience firsthand and I can say that in MY case, I didn’t really want to hear from my parents for a while. It was my first experience at taking care of myself and being responsible for my own life and I LOVED it. Sure, my parents (specifically my Mom) were upset and cried when they dropped me off and left, and I can appreciate that sentiment now that I have a niece and nephew, but I was ready to start my OWN thing.

At least, I thought it was my own thing – but anyway – I think parents have a harder time with it than children do. Let them come to you. Don’t smother them. Give them the chance to screw up and the chance to succeed.

And for God’s sake, send them a $50 now and then – trust me, that’ll make a bigger difference than the “oh baby I miss you how’s it going” phone calls. At least until they get older. Nowadays, 20+ years later, I treasure my Sunday morning phone calls with Mom and Dad far more than anything else!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 19th, 2011
11:01 am

@JoDee…..I never said I wouldn’t miss him (thanks by the way to Blondehoney for coming to my defense). What I was saying is that if that selfish desire to keep him WITH me, FOR me, outweighs my desire to give him the tools and have him go face the world and live HIS life FOR him, then I am doing him a great disservice as a parent.

And frankly, I can’t imagine that how much I enjoy having my kid in my life will change with his age. To assert that the older your child is bears a direct correlation to a parent’s attachment to them, to me, is borderline offensive. While on the surface that presumption would make rational sense, but I think most of us as parents will agree that once you see your child born, you realize that all rational logic goes out the window. I can honestly say that the attachment I have to my son is just as intense now as it was on day one seven years ago.

JoDee

August 20th, 2011
9:44 pm

@tiger ….Please note the first sentence of my first post. I get it. I love that I launched my child with everything he needs to be a successful adult. However, I miss our dinner table debates, our discussions in the car on the way to and from school ( I’m a teacher, and he chose to ride with me daily) and the occasional hug and kiss. He used to be here every day, and now he’s not. Like I said, it leaves a hole. I have filled it in with interests and activities that I enjoy, but it is there, nonetheless.

Also, your relationship changes as the child changes. You might not enjoy him so much when he is 13. ….you might enjoy the young adult he becomes in a different way than you enjoyed him when he was a pre-adolescent. The attachment doesn’t change, but the relationship does. All relationships change and evolve over time, don’t they?

JoDee

August 20th, 2011
9:49 pm

Also, Tiger, where did I make any assertion that the age of a child is in any way related to a parent’s attachment? We’re not talking about the enjoyment of having a kid in our lives…. we’re talking about missing them, but then being at peace with having launched them successfully. Sorry, but I’ve been where you are, but you haven’t been where I am yet. It’s true that you ” can’t imagine”.

Warrior Woman

August 22nd, 2011
11:20 am

@JoDee – you said “just wait until you bond to this human for 18 years….not just 7.” That is a clear statement that you think the age of the child is related to the parent’s attachment.

JoDee

August 22nd, 2011
8:45 pm

Disagree. Longer habits of mind in 18 years than in 7. It’s not about bonding; it’s about habits of mind…..missing a person and having an attachment to them are not the same thing. IMO Habits of mind…and life… involve a child, if you have one. Once the child is no longer in the home, the habits of mind change.

Fast Buck Chuck

August 24th, 2011
3:34 pm

My two sons both survived, one to UGA the other to UT I was pretty happy with the results although they seemed troublesome at times both were, prone to disaster and money problems. My grandson is starting his first year at Clemson this year he seems much more in control of both his money and his faculties, I’m far more confident in his abilities and maturity,He’s a 19 year old grownup, and I’m a proud grandpa. willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.